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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Aging Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2019.00229

Plasma markers of inflammation linked to clinical progression and decline during preclinical AD

  • 1Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, United States
  • 2School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, United States

Objective: To examine the prospective association between blood biomarkers of immune functioning (i.e., innate immune activation, adaptive immunity, and inflammation) and subsequent cognitive decline and clinical progression to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in cognitively normal individuals.
Methods: The BIOCARD study is an observational cohort study of N=191 initially cognitively healthy participants (mean age 65.2 years). Blood plasma samples were assayed for markers of chronic inflammation (TNFR1, IL-6), adaptive immunity (CD25), and innate immune activation (CD14 and CD163). Participants were followed annually for ongoing clinical assessment and cognitive testing for up to 7.3 years. Primary study outcomes were progression to MCI and cognitive change over time, as measured by a global factor score encompassing multiple cognitive domains.
Results: Higher levels of plasma TNFR1 were associated with greater risk of progression from normal cognition to MCI (HR: 3.27; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.27, 8.40). Elevated levels of TNFR1 were also associated with steeper rate of cognitive decline on follow-up but not with baseline cognitive performance. Baseline IL-6 levels and markers of innate and adaptive immune activation showed no relationship with MCI risk or cognitive decline.
Conclusions: Inflammation, mediated by TNF signaling, may play a selective role in the early phase of AD. Accordingly, plasma TNFR1 may facilitate improved prediction of disease progression for individuals in the preclinical stage of AD.

Keywords: preclinical AD, Inflammation, Cytokines, cognitive decline, biomarkers, TNFR1

Received: 08 May 2019; Accepted: 12 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Gross, Walker, Moghekar, Pettigrew, Soldan, Albert and Walston. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Alden L. Gross, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, United States, agross14@jhu.edu